“The first impression might lead to a purchase, but the overall experience can determine repeat purchases,” says Mark Bellard, president and owner, Siloa. “The aesthetic is complimented by the function [and] both are vital to a successful product.”
Making a good first impression is important for all products, but it is especially true for luxury products where caps are usually higher budget and lower volume. “It is important to these brands that the consumer perceives the luxury the brand has built into the package, which can be accomplished by way of texture, weight and of course, appearance,” says Bellard, adding, “Whatever ways the perception is achieved, it is vitally important.”
Influence and Inspiration
New and emerging beauty and personal care closure trends continue to be affected by elements inside and outside the beauty realm. In fact, some of the most purposeful design and functional developments are drawing inspiration from markets such as the wellness and pharmaceutical industries. Pharmaceutical style screw caps, locking jar caps and hands-free applicator caps are in demand for those in search of a more sophisticated, wellness alternative.
“As the wellness industry continues to merge with the cosmetics industry, we’ve noticed a shift from simple cosmetic closures to more advanced multifunctional closures, with our latest caps including twist-lock caps and tamper-evident caps as a result of a rise in more active cosmetic and skincare formulations on the market,” comments Eleanor Bunting, marketing manager, International Cosmetic Suppliers Ltd. (ICS).
“Caps increasingly represent a brands’ image, from edgy geometric shapes to playful and multifunctional styles,” Bunting says. “Recently our clients have been asking for caps that are an alternative shape or disproportioned shape compared to the shape of the body of packaging, such as a small round cap on a square jar, or a octagon cap on a round tube, emphasizing this organic and tactile trend.”
Practicality is the top consideration in cap choice aesthetics. “Premium formulations like serums and oils may need locking caps for leakage and tamper-proof functionality, whilst others only require simple screw caps,” says Bunting. “An ideal example of having both good functional design and aesthetic goes to our ICS design caps with edges, which not only offer a unique and modern visual impact but also provides an easier grip for users. Sliding and flip-top caps are another good example, where smooth and elegant design meets easy, single- handed, foolproof use.”
Bunting also notes: “Due to the impact of COVID-19 consumers are also becoming more conscious of touching their face and contaminating their formulations creating an increased demand for new cap designs with built-in applicators, such as built-in brushes or doe foots for makeup application.”
For premium beauty brands, the look of luxury continues to reign as a top brand image feature. Sue Nichols, CEO, ICS, says there are multiple ways this can be achieved with a simple cap design. “A simple cap design [can be made] more luxurious by adding a magnet to the cap for a premium weighted feel or by adding a second process finish like metallization, an aluminum sheath or by a two part cap with a sophisticated locking system,” she says.
One of ICS’s recent cap designs was for Karen Murrell’s Natural Lipstick. “This sleek, elegant lipstick is adorned with our custom embossed flower design on the top of the cap for a fun and fresh feminine touch,” says Nichols, ICS’s CEO. “The cap and base of Karen Murrell’s Natural Lipstick have a luxe rose gold metallic spray and a smooth, effortless click-fit closure. Using the decorating process of embossed and debossed designs not only provides brands with a more intimate and customized aesthetic, but also are a more sustainable finish alternative.”
Ongoing Focus on Sustainability
Sustainability continues to be an important must-have packaging attribute for beauty consumers and by extension, beauty brands.
“Sustainability is, of course, one of our main approaches and the goal, together with innovation, to work and communicate in 2020-2021,” says Rosa Porras-Mansilla, marketing and communications manager, Virospack. “To be respectful of our planet is more than just a goal, it is a philosophy of the company and part of our DNA. In this sense, all our sections and processes work in a certain way, thinking about environmental commitment, and that has allowed multiple achievements.”
One of Virospack’s latest innovations is a new dropper with a single piece, 100% wooden dropper cap–the first of its kind, according to Porras-Mansilla. The 100% natural cap bears an FSC Certification, a guarantee of Responsible Forest Management, and is free of plastic and does not require the standard gluing assembly process. The construction eliminates two processes in its manufacturing and being consequently more respectful of our environment. “Normally a dropper would have a plastic inner cap glued to the wooden shell, in this case, we get rid of the plastic piece and also the gluing process, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the dropper,” Porras-Mansilla explains. “The sealing is done with the bulb, which could be recyclable and food grade.”
Joe Brodner, owner and president of Olcott Plastics, reports his customers have been increasingly requesting sustainable options in jars and closures as their customers are demanding corporate responsibility to the environment. “All Olcott Plastics closures can be manufactured in post-consumer resin (PCR) in 100% or less to help brands meet sustainability and performance goals for packages,” he says. “Recently, Olcott has been working with color suppliers to help mask any color inconsistencies present in PCR. These advanced color suppliers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in matching colors previously thought too difficult to match in PCR.”
ICS also offers a variety of caps made from PCR plastic, as well as 100% recyclable PP mono-material caps, including its own exclusive biodegradable packaging that’s 100% biodegradable, 100% compostable and 100% recyclable. “Our biodegradable cap designs use flush-fit friction closure, no hinge, no magnets, for the ultimate sustainable cap choice for compacts, palettes, sticks and pots,” says Bunting. “We also offer aluminum cap options which are 100% recyclable and are a more premium alternative to plastic.”
Lombardi Design & Manufacturing, which uses sustainable materials for its different cap applications, has a particular expertise with Tenite, a clear, cellulosic plastic resin from Eastman that is derived from sustainable wood farming. “Customers are increasingly requesting a sustainable feature for caps and all packaging items,” says Jack Albanese, Lombardi’s director of new business development. “We are spearheading the use of post-consumer, recyclable resins.”
Made from 100% renewable softwood materials. Tenite plastics deliver a balance of toughness, hardness, strength, surface gloss, clarity, chemical resistance, and warmth to the touch.
Concepts that confer a company’s commitment to sustainability can sometimes cause confusion. For maximum impact, Porras-Mansilla advocates unvarnished transparency. “Many companies try to appear to be sustainable when they are not, and it is very difficult to be sustainable,” she says. “For Virospack, it’s not just an image, it’s a philosophy, and we are completely transparent about this subject. In these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to be sincere.”
By combining an aesthetically pleasing brand message with implicit functionality, caps, lids and closures are literally and figuratively the apex of a package. “A great design should be the perfect marriage between functionality and aesthetic and as the modern consumer grows even savvier this pairing rings even more true,” concludes ICS’s Bunting. “You cannot produce a beautiful product if functionally it does not work, and consumers will not choose a product if it’s not aesthetically pleasing.
Virospack recently launched an elegant new curved bulb dropper configuration that features an avant-garde, rounded silhouette. The two plastic curved cap choices can be combined with a new curved rubber bulb to fit standard 20/410 bottles. The new configuration is amenable to different decorative finishes such as painting or metallization, and the bulb can be moulded in color.
Olcott Plastics (a Pretium Packaging brand), has expanded its offering in frosted/textured finish plastic closures with a standard smooth top or in extra tall and dome options. The closures are offered in natural, black, white or custom colors and are able to be lined with all standard lining materials. “Textured finish on a closure offers product differentiation and compliments the existing package,” explains Joe Brodner, president, noting that upgrading to a textured closure is a great option for brands hoping to refresh their packaging without making major changes to filling lines or product packaging.
Lombardi Design & Manufacturing added to its line of custom injection molded and dispensing caps for fragrance and skincare with a new domed cap offering for its recently expanded range of Propel/Repel Sticks. While typical deodorant propel/repel retractable configurations utilize a top-fill process and flat-topped cap, Lombardi’s new domed offering is a fresh, alternative shape for smaller sized retractable products, such as color cosmetic blushes, foundations and highlighting sticks. What’s more, the new domed cap is amenable to bottom fill processes, allowing colorful formulas to fill and mold to the shape of the domed cap, providing a window to the product and a colorful point of brand differentiation on-shelf.